Gubar, a distinguished emerita professor of English at Indiana University and the author of Memoir of a Debulked Woman, has had plenty of reason to cry during her years of living with metastatic ovarian cancer. A few of her useful insights:
- At times, blocking or suppressing grief is necessary to get through treatment.
- Others' expression of sadness about your situation may trigger your grief in a healing way.
- Others' witnessing and accepting your grief can be healing.
- Efforts to release grief, such as by watching a tear-jerker movie, can give you some control over when/how you vent your grief.
- Grieving can provide a break from feeling as if you are fighting the cancer all the time.
Her essay unearthed a flood of memories about tears from the first few years of my survivorship. Back then, if tears cured cancer, I would never have needed chemo or radiation.
I learned that it helped to understand why I was crying. Sometimes if someone listened to me try to figure it out, I could. Other times, I needed the guidance of a counselor to help me understand important reasons beyond the obvious ones.
Grief is the natural response to loss. That said, we still have some control over when and how we grieve. Healthy Survivors learn how to grieve in healthy ways at each stage of survivorship.